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    Construction Weekly, 12 April 2023
    Aesthetics of large glass

    Anastasia Voitik

    In the issue No. 4/5 (945) of the "Construction Weekly" magazine dated 04/10/2023, an article entitled "Aesthetics of Large Glass" was published, where a number of construction industry experts shared their opinion on large-format glazing, its features and practical use. Anastasia Voitik, lead architect at Metropolis, also provided her expert opinion on this matter.

    “Modern glazing is rapidly developing and changing the face of cities and the human environment. Increasing the maximum sizes of glass, equipping it with automation systems, enhancing anti-vandal characteristics, using multifunctional and energy-saving double-glazed windows, using hidden fittings and minimizing the visible part of the profile are just some of the achievements in glazing.

    The development of technology gives greater freedom in the implementation of architectural solutions. So, during the construction of buildings, many strive for frameless glazing of facades. In recent years, full glazing methods have been developed using large format glass panels. This technique makes it possible to achieve a special lightness of structures and create a space filled with natural light inside the building.

    One example of large formats is Jumbo glass. Glass panels differ from standard format panels used in traditional façade glazing not only because of their large dimensions, but also because of their properties. Large-sized thick glasses have better optical characteristics and high strength. Jumbo format panels are additionally polished and provide good thermal insulation of the object. The main advantages of this type are energy efficiency, excellent sound insulation, light transmission up to 95% and ease of operation.

    Renowned British architect Norman Foster was one of the first to appreciate the benefits of large-format glass panels and used them to design Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, USA. For glazing the outer contour of the facade of the campus, Foster used giant solid glass panels with dimensions of 14.3 x 3.2 meters, which can withstand weights up to 8 tons. The panels were made of tempered laminated glass. For the inner contour, the dimensions of the panels were 11 x 3.2 meters. Large panels, despite the complexity of their manufacture, are significantly superior to small ones in terms of their operational properties: their service life is longer, and during their manufacture at the framing development stage savings are possible, which ultimately leads to cost reduction.

    In Russia, large-format glazing has also become widespread. For instance, this technique was used in the reconstruction project of the GES-2 House of Culture in Moscow. The redevelopment of the former power plant was the largest project to transform an industrial building into an open cultural space that has been implemented in the world in recent years. Renzo Piano Building Workshop was the author of the reconstruction project. The Metropolis company has developed structural solutions and internal engineering systems at all stages of design.

    The GES-2 building has a glass roof, which is its central element. For the roof glazing, structural double-glazed windows with tempered architectural glass with HST and mating heat-strengthened triplex were used. Photovoltaic shutters and lightweight triple glazing create a layered roof system that balances out the natural light of the art galleries. Thanks to this organization of the interior spaces, the vast turbine hall turned into a space flooded with daylight.”

    The GES-2 House of Culture building. Photo: Ilya Ivanov

    You can read the full material with comments from other experts on the ASN-info website.